Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Over the past thirty years I have been fortunate to travel to Southern
Florida and explore most of the easily accessible and well traveled parts of the Everglades and surrounding areas to the East. If you start at the Atlantic Ocean in southern Florida and travel West you pass through a densely packed strip of houses, malls, retirement homes, hospitals and parking lots.  Then it all drops away and there is a sea of flooded grass with scattered islands of trees.  Very few east-west roads cross over into this vast open space, Griffin Road is one that only enters.  On the east side of the "line" it is an asphalt   thoroughfare on the west side it is a two parallel white gravel lines scarring the top of a dike holding the waters of the Everglades in check.

Looking to the South West

Looking to the South East.  The power towers follow the "line".

On my last visit I took a walk on a hot afternoon.  I have walked thousands of miles, we all will if we live long enough. I followed the white scars away from the "line".  The amount of trash was amazing.  No dig here I was just caught off guard.  From the debris I looked mostly like beer drinking fishermen with cigarettes were the most common travelers. Years of trash have accumulated along this path and it doesn't look as if there is an agency or staff that take care of it. It is just a route from point a to point out westerly.   Few bugs no birds as my feet crunched along in the gravel. The area on the right side of the dike was flooded while the left was dry. Both stretch to the horizon covered with tall grass. Occasionally I would hear bird call fro the tall grasses below but saw nothing I could take a picture of, 

Nothing is more emblematic then an air boat in the EvergladesThe channel along the dike is a major avenue for those fast but deafening monsters.
Off in the distance I saw something on the left side of the dike


Looking West.





Not what I was expecting to see on the edge of the Everglades.
I took my pictures and reflected on what it was or what it meant. A ghost of some forgotten tragedy? Filling a painful void?  I looked around. A flat breeze was doing little to keep the mosquitoes away.  I saw need to continue any further out into the emptiness down the road. I turned back.  As I walked my mind glazed over thinking about what I have just seen. I walked half halfheartedly scanning for animals, bugs or flowers.
I do not remember how far I walked or how far I wandered in thought when suddenly that little monkey-slash-lizard part of your brain deep deep down at the root took control of the whole program .

My body jolted with adrenaline as I saw the alligator off to my left
down below at the waters edge. 

There was plenty of room between us and I
felt embarrassed at how startled I as when it's image crystallized and
my ass puckered.  I was in no more danger then as if I were looking at a
dairy cow.  Remind me to tell you my dairy cow story later.


I moved around and took pictures of the alligator. It was about six to eight feet long. Look at it's head. At some point in this guys life something munched down hard on the right side of it's head.  The eyes are out of line and the skull is misshapen.  There is also that knob of scar tissue balled out on the head. The alligator was still, was it there when I walked out? How did I miss that? Something that big?  It really bothered me that it as dry. If it wasn't there when I walked out how long would it have taken it to dry when I as looking at Avalanche?  How long had I been out there? I had lost track of time and became UN-nerved. All this time I stared at the alligator, neither of us moved. Without any warning or a sound the alligator gracefully lifted up turned to it's left and slid into the water and stopped with it's tail exposed.  

 So, when you get to South Eastern Florida drop by and e-mail me an updated photo.
Hwy 27 (Orange Drive) and 818 (Griffin Road)
Go West.
Goggle Earth gave me these coordinates.
26° 3' 32" N 80° 26' 57" W
26° 03.5345 N 80° 26.9545 W
26.05891 N 80.44924 W

Tread lightly. Take care out there.

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